My mother’s 5th birthday in Newfoundland, 1920. Mom is the dark-haired, dark-eyed girl under the window. Mom said that they had sandwiches, lemonade, birthday cake and homemade ice cream.
This is my fifth birthday in Ontario in the ’50’s. I am the dark-haired girl, third from the left in the second row. My parents did just what my mother’s parents did and invited the whole neighbourhood. I’m sitting next to my best friend, Sue (face is blurred). My dad put up some sawhorses in the backyard and covered them with two doors for our table. I think he made some makeshift benches too for us all to be able to sit around the table. Mom made lemonade and sandwiches and we had birthday cake and watermelon for dessert. I remember that the boys were spitting watermelon seeds at each other and all over the backyard lawn. We had a wonderful time. Everyone got balloons and suckers as their treats.
Birthdays were always well celebrated in our family, whether we were five or twenty-five. One of my favourite memories is the celebration we had for my mother’s 90th birthday. We had a party for all Mom’s oldest friends in the church she attended and it was a wonderful occasion which the church women’s group catered. The very next day we had a celebration at our home in the country to which we invited the whole family. We had three tents put up, one for all the guests, one for the food and one for people to sit and talk. We all wore name tags because Mom’s memory was getting a bit hazy. We played games, watched a video of Mom’s life, made speeches, ate delicious fried chicken and a special cake. Mom was the centre of attention. We brought out an easy chair for her to sit in to watch the fireworks which the men arranged and we all enjoyed each others’ company. Mom was the Queen of the day and the true family matriarch. I wish we had been able to celebrate my dad’s 90th but he passed away in his 72nd year. I think he would have approved of Mom’s birthday celebrations.